Everyone said everything is dead. Again.
Steve “SEO is Dead” Rubel led it off only minutes after the official announcement. (And, no, he does not get link for it) From there we were subjected to various other types of “dead”: paid search, analytics, long-tail keywords, short-tail keywords, etc.
It’s the status quo with the SEM community; if it’s new and foreign from a way of doing things, then the immediate reaction from the community is: IT’S ALL DEAD, MAN! GOOGLE JUST KILLED IT ALL!
Those of us who know the score sat back and watched the house catch fire. People were screaming out for Matt Cutts to set the record straight on this (again, per usual).
So let’s set the record straight: it’s not dead. It won’t be dead. SEO will never die. If Google ever discounts site content and links, then, and only then, will SEO die. Since that isn’t happening, we’re all fine. Everyone ok on that? Great.
What Every Major Google Hub is Saying About Instant
Yes, that’s right, beyond Matt having to shush the SEO Chicken Little’s out there, Google’s 3 major hubs and Google itself put out official posts on how Google Instant will affect the resource.
This in No Way Kills SEO
Sorry. That’s the facts. If you step back for a moment, all GI (Google Instant) has really done is allow people to search faster and offer suggestions, or as The GOOG put it, “mind read”.
Fact #1: There was heavy personalization BEFORE this update
Yes, indeed. Google was helping you, and still is, by honing in your IP address and by search history. Not much has changed there.
Fact #2: Google Suggestions have been around as early as 2008
Again, nothing changed. Those suggestions that still appear below your query, Google helping you refine your thoughts before you hit enter, they’re still there. What has changed is that GOOG is tacking them in your actual query string now, guessing/mind-reading at what you might be looking for.
Fact #3: SERPs Are Still SERPs
Yes, I think the instant update also came attached with some algorithm tweaks. Anecdotal searches I’ve performed thus far tell they’ve tweaked some things; yes, I’ve seen upward and downward movement in my sites’ positions for business-centric keywords. That said, the SERP is still being constructed based on your site’s content, authority, relevance to the query at hand, and off-site SEO.
Why would GI want to mess with a good thing? This update just allows them to serve those SERPs faster.
What’s Going to be Different for SEOs?
A few things are going to change. Keyword research is a premium now. If you were lethargic and lazy about your keyword research prior to this update, you’re in for a real treat. It seems that the GI update, again only from anecdotal searches conducted thus far, that the long tail is much more of a priority and seems to be pushing users in that direction.
What that means? It means that a lot more users are going to be engaging in long-tail search terms. It means this update, is essentially teaching run-of-the-mill searchers how write better search queries to find their information. What I am not saying is that one and two-term keyword phrases are useless, I personally don’t think these will be as much of a traffic force in the coming months. Hence, if you’re an SEO, you better get your keyword data-sloshing boots on, cause’ it’s going to get thick.
The solid SEOs/SEMs out there are already doing this. The hacks will have to play catch up: actually have to consider the content they are putting on the page. Consider dropping in long-tail terms within pages, being strategic with content.
Keep Moving Forward.
Yes, I did. I stole this quote from Meet the Robinsons. The past is the past; let’s all take a moment to reflect on it. [Reflecting]
There. That was great. Now move forward. Google is always going to be innovating, for better or worse, well-thought out or not, and always for the next big payday. If our profession didn’t change, not many would stick around. We’re a dynamic bunch of people; we institute change for others, we strategize how to create dramatic change in conversions and profit online for clients, and change happens to us both professionally and personally.
Stop buying into this ridiculous rhetoric that “SEO is dead”, that the game is so radically different now. It’s not. Put your game face on, buckle down, and get to work.